Celanese Corp. posted strong growth in 2018 in its engineered materials unit and for the company overall.
Dallas-based Celanese on Jan. 28 reported full-year sales of $7.16 billion, up 16.5 percent vs. 2017. The firm's profit also soared 43 percent to $1.2 billion.
For engineered materials — including the world's largest acetal business as well as a wide range of engineering resins and compounds — sales for 2018 were up 17 percent to $2.6 billion. Engineered materials was the second-largest of Celanese's three operating units in 2018, accounting for almost 36 percent of total sales before eliminations.
Operating profit for engineered materials grew almost 12 percent during 2018 to $460 million. The unit's sales volume in pounds also grew 9 percent in 2018.
In a news release, Chairman and CEO Mark Rohr said that underlying fundamentals and forward looking demand forecasts for Celeanese's products and businesses "remain strong."
"The strength of our business models, additional contribution from organic investment projects underway, and planned acquisition contributions give us confidence in reaffirming our plan to earn $12 per share in 2020," he added. Earning per share for 2019 are projected at $10.50.
But Rohr also said that company officials believe that economic weakness that surfaced in the fourth quarter of 2018 primarily in Europe and Asia "will continue through the first quarter and into the second before global business starts to recover."
Celanese made a pair of compounding acquisitions in 2018, buying Omni Plastics LLC of Evansville, Ind., and Next Polymers Ltd. of India. The firm now has made five compounding acquisitions since 2014.
On Wall Street, Celanese's per-share stock price had a rough ride in 2018, starting at $108.20 but ending at $97.20 for a drop of more than 11 percent. The price closed near $96.30 on Jan. 29.